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Jolly Fish Press
"Beast Charming" is by Jenniffer Wardell.

"BEAST CHARMING," by Jenniffer Wardell, Jolly Fish Press, $15.99, 288 pages (f)

In a world where dragons and giants regularly interact with human society and where damsels in distress can order happily ever afters from corporate agencies, Beauty wants one simple thing: to be free from her father and his ridiculous schemes to force Beauty and her sister into their happy endings (aka his happy ending).

So when a vague job request comes in from the butler of a large estate, Beauty takes it without a second thought. Her task is to help James Hightower — the master of the house who was cursed a year ago by his ex-fiancée who has vanished — find a hobby. Thus ensues a battle of tempers and stubbornness, and both end up with more than they bargained for, especially as James gains more confidence to go out in society and discovers his ex-fiancée may not be as far away as they thought.

Salt Lake City author Jenniffer Wardell's novel "Beast Charming," a funny and clever retelling of the beloved "Beauty and the Beast" fairy tale, is a surprisingly modern story with just enough fairy-tale elements to keep it whimsical. With plenty of banter, romance and just enough deviations from the original tale to keep things fresh, "Beast Charming" can easily fulfill all of a reader's fairy-tale escape needs while sharing some lovely themes as well.

Comment on this story

There are a few slightly violent scenes (Beauty must chase off the simpering girls who wander on to James' property in hopes of breaking his curse, and James frequently breaks stone sculptures), but the book is free of profanity, sexual innuendo and violence overall.

Wardell is the author of "Fairy Godmothers, Inc.," a Cinderella story that takes place in the same world as "Beast Charming." She is also the arts, entertainment and lifestyle reporter for The Davis Clipper.

If you go ...

What: Jenniffer Wardell book signing

When: Saturday, March 28, 2-4 p.m.

Where: Barnes and Noble, Layton Market Center, 1780 N. Woodland Park Drive, Layton

Web: barnesandnoble.com, jennifferwardell.blogspot.com

Angela Carter is a writer and editor. When she's not absorbed in words, she enjoys going on walks and playing the piano. She blogs at palydudeman.blogspot.com.